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JUNE 2013 issue of
Rental Management

Fencing in events

Make sure you offer the right type of barricades


Renting fence means taking several factors into consideration, such as storage, transportation and municipal regulations. In addition, finding the right type of fence for your market means a lot of research, not only into the quality of the fencing, but into what types of fencing are carried locally and why.

“Traditional bike rack fencing is difficult to store and to transport, so we have a modular fencing that stacks together and we can haul 1,000 ft. at a time on a trailer. We also carry different colors,” says Rob Robben, Robin Event Rental, Loveland, Colo., and owner of Event Fence Construction, Berthoud, Colo.

Color is one consideration when deciding to carry fencing as an alternative to galvanized metal. Also, there are options with the base or “foot” of the fence. “Arched bases are easier to trip on, so it’s nice to have a flat-footed panel. It’s much safer,” he says.

“Higher-end fencing can have a longer period of ROI [return on investment]. However, you are usually renting a lot of it at a time. I never have enough. I think you’d want to start out with 1,000 ft. at least, but invariably, they will call for more,” he says.

Also, Robben recommends considering weights when your fencing will have banners. “Sandbags help keep fence down when there’s a banner on there, because the banner becomes a sail. We have holes in the bases of our fence so we can stake the fence down and avoid sandbags,” he says.

“Every event has a different requirement,” says Murray Bilby, president, The Tamis Corp., Pittsburgh. “Given the choice, any rental company would choose the Classic Blockader® style for its construction and choice of variations. Unlike most options available today, it was designed for a rental workload.”

Bilby, who has been in the fence manufacturing business for more than 30 years, says the original barricade design came from a company in France and was patented in 1952.

“If you’re just creating a visual barrier, any metal frame will do the job. If you are doing crowd control, you need something designed for that use. You should look at the weight and at the stability. You should verify that the product has at least 16-gauge steel tubing. For rental, you need to know how much abuse it can take without major maintenance or damage. If you have lighter-weight barricades, a certain percentage of those are going to need repairs after the first rental,” he says.

“You also need a certain amount of weight for stability. The 2.5-m frame with the bridge base should be about 52 lbs. and a 2.5-m frame with a steel plate base should be about 58 lbs. The Classic Blockader® is the frame of reference for all variations since 1976,” Bilby says.

“For the last decade there has been a trend in the rental market to shorter frames. In the late 1990s, we found the 2.5-m length can be fatiguing when setting up large events. The trend went from 2.5 m or 8 ft. to 2 m or 6.5 ft. In New York City, the police barrier is actually 6.75 ft., a slight variation because it was first modeled on another shorter French design,” he says.

Tim Kirk, event and tent industry sales, Signature Systems Group, New York, says the type of fence used is not only determined by local requirements, but also aesthetics.

“We’re seeing a gravitation toward more high-end fencing as well, such as the PVC or picket fencing. It gives the event a completely different look and feel.”

Fencing is also part of the security at any event, Kirk adds. “Just in the past few weeks, we’ve received several calls on events. Recent events may be a catalyst for more security. Everyone is rethinking the security aspect of events and receiving more direction from cities and municipalities on that. The whole purpose of fencing is to control crowds and direct people through events. That’s what fences are meant for.”

Another type of fence to consider for high-end events or major construction sites where security and aesthetics are beneficial is the welded wire panel, Bilby says.

“It is frequently used in the public view with less expensive chain link around the back. It is increasingly used at festivals, but is still most often seen in urban construction zones. The small 2-in.-by-4-in. openings aid security with a 6-ft.-tall rigid panel and no sharp wire ties,” he says.

Minimizing setup labor and transportation costs also is an issue for event rental operators, he adds. As a result, The Tamis Corp. also developed the Perimeter Patrol fencing system, designed to fit in the back of a pickup truck.

“We carry panels in powder-coated colors including white, yellow and black. It also has an angled top accessory,” Bilby says. “That’s a niche product, but where applicable, it commands a good return over chain link.”

Installing fence for liquor-related events means more requirements

If you plan to offer fence for rent, make sure to do research on your community’s ordinances for fencing. “Many municipalities require 6-ft.-high fence for liquor control and the opening needs to be smaller, about 2 in. by 4 in., so that cups can’t be passed through the fence. That’s important for beer gardens and festivals,” says Rob Robben, Robin Event Rental, Loveland, Colo., and owner of Event Fence Construction, Berthoud, Colo.

The liquor fence, he says, also can be used to fence around construction sites, which also usually have to be 6 ft. high.

Many cities have several requirements for liquor fencing. According to the City of Seattle’s website, beer gardens require either a 6-ft.-high chain link fence or two 42-in.-high fences, around the garden, with 6 ft. between the two fences. Sue Redman, president, Abbey Party Rentals, Seattle, says they normally install two 42-in. fences.

“You have to double-fence it, so that the drinks can’t be handed through the fence. You also need space between the two fences, so someone can’t lean over the fences to the outside. That requires a lot of space, so you have to take that into consideration when talking to the client,” Redman says.

“Our fencing is a mesh-type and you can’t pass anything through those. I have seen picket-type fencing used, so it depends on your community’s regulations,” Redman adds. “In our state you also have to have a separate entrance and separate exit, to help regulate the patrons.”

Redman says Abbey Party Rentals does not have a problem discussing whether liquor will be part of an event, because permits are usually required. “Nine times out of 10, they have to get a permit for that type of event, so most of the time customers are very straight-forward about having liquor at the event. We just make sure that we go over our part of it, putting up the fence, the space requirements and the liquor regulations,” she says.




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